The Towne strain cytomegalovirus and a low-passage strain, Toledo-1, were compared for virulence and immunogenicity in healthy adult male subjects to determine the suitability of the Towne strain for vaccination. Five seropositive subjects who received the Toledo-1 strain developed infections ranging in severity from laboratory abnormalities to mild mononucleosis syndromes (mean incubation, 4.7 weeks). None of the four seronegative subjects receiving the Towne strain developed systemic infection, but all developed delayed local reactions at the injection sites. All subjects developed cytotoxic lymphocyte responses specific to cytomegalovirus, usually HLA-restricted, but these were of greater magnitude and duration in the Toledo-1 recipients. The latter also developed natural killer cell and interferon responses, atypical lymphocytosis, inversion of helper/suppressor cell ratios, and depressed responses to T-cell mitogens, none of which occurred in Towne strain recipients. The results further substantiate the avirulence and immunogenicity of the Towne strain cytomegalovirus.